Mechanical failure causes emergency landing of Delta Boeing 717, investigation reveals.

A malfunction in a key component is believed to have triggered the emergency landing of a Delta Air Lines Boeing 717 at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport on June 28th, as revealed by an early report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The investigation is focusing on a broken upper lock link, a critical element of the aircraft's nose landing gear, which was found to be fractured. This unexpected failure resulted in the lower lock link becoming unrestricted and swinging into a vertical position, consequently coming into contact with the nose gear assembly and effectively inhibiting its motion.

The crew of Delta Flight 1092 became aware of the faulty condition as they commenced landing procedures after an otherwise uneventful flight from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Upon lowering the landing gear, at around 2,000 feet above ground level, the first officer noted an illuminated nose wheel unsafe light, as per the NTSB. Post verification of this anomaly via the aircraft’s electronic instrument system, the crew decided to abort their initial landing.

Subsequent attempts to manually extend the landing gear proved unsuccessful, prompting the crew to declare an emergency. Aiming to visually verify the status of the landing gear, they made another approach, with air traffic controllers unable to sight the nose gear. This prompted a second aborted landing at around 300 feet above ground level.

Despite exhausting standard and manual landing gear extension methods, the nose wheel refused to cooperate. This led the NTSB to conclude, “The decision was made to proceed with the landing."

On their third attempt, the crew managed a skillful landing 1,400 feet into Runway 36 Left at Charlotte-Douglas. The aircraft's nose was carefully lowered onto the runway at approximately 80 knots. A subsequent safety assessment determined that all 104 passengers and crew could evacuate safely via the two forward exits. No injuries were reported during this carefully managed emergency.

The NTSB disclosed that the damaged lock link is now under scrutiny at their materials laboratory. The aircraft’s maintenance records have also been sequestered for a thorough examination.